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Skylar Phillips court

Skylar Phillips is led into Warren County Court for his June 15 arraignment on murder and manslaughter charges in the June 8 death of Charles Werner IV.

The Glens Falls man accused of murder in connection with a drug deal gone bad doesn’t think his lawyer is visiting him enough in jail.

Skylar C. Phillips wrote a letter to Warren County Judge John Hall earlier this month, lamenting that his taxpayer-funded lawyer was not coming to see him as often as he would like.

Phillips asked that he have a new lawyer appointed and said that he didn’t think Bradley Krause was coming to see him enough.

Krause said he had visited Phillips a number of times since his June arrest, and has also been doing legal research and investigation on the case.

“I also have been regularly communicating with his parents about the case,” Krause said.

Krause, though, agreed it was probably best for him to be relieved of the case in light of Phillips’ concerns, and Warren County Judge John Hall said he would do so. Hall said it would take about a week to complete the court-appointed assignment.

Because Phillips’ counsel is not being handled through the county Public Defender’s Office, as the agency had a conflict of interest because of representation of co-defendants, his legal representation will be paid by the hour through the county’s assigned counsel program. And appointing someone who will have to start fresh with the case will likely cost the county.

Phillips, 19, has pleaded not guilty to counts of second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, first-degree assault, tampering with physical evidence and criminal possession of a controlled substance in connection with the June 8 stabbing death of 31-year-old Glens Falls resident Charles Werner IV.

Police said Werner was meeting Phillips and several others to buy a large quantity of the prescription drug Xanax, but Werner grabbed the bag of drugs and tried to run off. The defendants caught him, and Werner was stabbed in the chest during a melee that ensued.

Phillips’ roommate, Nicholas Hamel, 19, has been charged with first-degree manslaughter, two counts of felony assault and criminal possession of a controlled substance for his alleged role in the fight.

Two other people who are alleged to have been involved in the drug activity surrounding the brawl face charges as well. Richard L. Rothaupt, 24, of Glens Falls, faces felony and misdemeanor counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance and Erica L. Cooper, 34, of Queensbury, was charged with felony criminal possession of a controlled substance.

There have been no additional court dates scheduled or plea talks in the case as defense lawyers prepare pretrial motions.

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reporter - crimes & courts, public safety and Warren County government

Don Lehman covers crime and Warren County government for The Post-Star. His work can be found on Twitter @PS_CrimeCourts and on poststar.com/app/blogs.

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